Analysis of soil resistance and sensitivity to erosion

Aggregate stability

Soil structure primarily arises from the presence and arrangement of soil aggregates. These aggregates can break apart due to mechanical and physico-chemical pressures, leading to pore blockages and decreased infiltration. This may result in water erosion or splashing. The 'wet sieving method' gauges aggregate stability against water-induced erosion.

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Wet sieving apparatus

Wet Sieving Apparatus

  • Assesses aggregate stability
  • Pre-set immersion time
  • Sieves particles above 0.250 mm

Soil Structure and Texture

Sound soil structure is vital for plant growth. It dictates root penetration, seedling emergence, oxygen diffusion, and water movement. It also influences temperature regulation within the soil profile.

Soil structure pertains to the form, shape, and size of individual soil particles and the aggregates they form. In agriculture, a crumb structure in the topsoil is sought after for optimal seed beds with suitable air and water permeability.

Conversely, compacted, wet soil results from low structural and aggregate stability.

Soil Improvement

Aggregate stability insight guides soil enhancement. For instance, mulching can prevent water and wind erosion sensitivity. Tailoring tillage to soil type and crop needs optimizes outcomes. Aggregate stability factors include:

  • Soil texture
  • Soil structure
  • Clay mineral type
  • Organic matter content and type

Forces Influencing Soil Aggregate Stability


Soil tillage, machinery impact, animal trampling, raindrop impact.


Swelling and shrinking, insufficient organic matter and lime.

Aggregate disintegration leads to diminished crumb structure, surface crust or internal sludge formation, reduced water infiltration, or soil spraying.